Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Final Day of the Condor

Revell Fw-200C-8 Werknummer 0224, F8+OL, 3/KG 40, 31 March 1944


This is the other four-engined aircraft for the Battle of the Atlantic display, Patuxent River Museum. This kit was started by a fellow modeller, Dan Yakel, who did the major construction, leaving the painting, decalling and fiddly bits to me.

The Subject


The Condor started life as a mail carrier and air liner for Lufthansa, prior to the war. Like all commercial aircraft in Germany at that time, it had a parallel military mission that was kept nominally secret by the Luftwaffe. In this case, the Condor was meant to provide maritime surveillance over the North Sea and North Atlantic, supporting both surface raiders and u-boats alike with ship and convoy sightings. The Condors were actually quite good at this mission, so good that Britain quickly mounted Hurricane fighters to merchants and launched them on one-way missions to shoot them down or at the very least drive them off.


F8+OL was a typical late model Condor, also capable of carrying the world's first guided anti-ship missiles, the Hs-293. Well, actually they were wire guided glide bombs with a rocket motor for initial acceleration, dropped from the aircraft, but they were devastating as it only took one to sink most ships.

F8+OL began service with KG 40 in 1943, providing u-boat support and harassing/attacking convoys into 1944. It and her crew met their end on 31 March 1944 when Wildcat IV/V's from 819 and 846 Squadrons, Fleet Air Arm, shot the aircraft down as it was attacking convoy JW58. What makes this aircraft unique is that it was most likely the last maritime Condor loss of the war (two other Condors were shot down that same day by the same two squadrons). This mission was transferred to the He-177 as it came into operations.


The crew of F8+OL were: Unteroffizier Alfred Kobel (pilot), Arthur Czychi, Johann Goed, Albert Hell, Gerhard Henze, Josef Straschek and Karl-Heinz Frink.

The Model


This is a relatively new release of the Revell of Germany Condor. Revell has an older release, with less detail of an earlier variant. This kit had lots of parts and could be built, out of the box, in either an early C-4 or later C-8 variant; the latter having the ability to carry the Hs-293 glide bombs.


Since I didn't actually do the construction, I won't talk to it, however I will say Dan struggled with the engine cowlings. I added more putty and attempted to clean it up, but it's a warning for when I do mine for my shelf. The landing gear is fiddly and requires lots of patience as well. The turrets and other gun positions are well represented and provide lots of detail. Most of the inside detail is lost once all the construction is done, but as always it's nice to know it's there.

This is a BIG aircraft. It's noticeably bigger than a Halifax or B-17, both in length and span, even if not near each other. It barely fits on my shelf! The wing planform is an interesting shape, having a double taper on the leading edge and a triple taper on the trailing edge.


Painting required lots of paint. I primed with Tamiya rattle can gray primer, then air brushed Model Master Acryl RLM 72 and RLM 73. While these colors have a low contrast, one being a dark gray-green and the other being a dark blue-gray, there is enough contrast to tell there are two colors there. The paint went on smoothly and I let it cure for a week before I masked. The underside is painted Model Master Acryl RLM 65.

I considered adding white or a light gray to all the paints to lighten them for scale effect, however my attempts on older binned kits just didn't look right. My shelf doesn't have much for Luftwaffe subjects yet (a few Bf-109's and Ta-183 whiff) so I have a long way to go to get my Luftwaffe colors right.


The kit decals are horrible! They are thick, and do not respond well to Micro-Set or -Sol; but when I use anything stronger they bubble and react to the solvent. It took many minutes to get the decals off the paper, and even then I had to use a bit of pressure with my fingers (always concerned that I'd tear them - the decals that is).

The decals went on over the usual coats of Future, and after they were very dry and somewhat settled I put another coat of Future on to seal it all in and allow me to handle the kit while I worked on the details.


I finished with sealing it all in with a satin mix of 1 part Acryl clear flat with 9 parts Future.

Summary


This kit took a solid 3 years of work, and I didn't do the construction! I have lots of 4 engined bombers in my stash, but this is only the second, after the Halifax, that I've actually completed since high school. I did enjoy it, immensely and I'm looking forward to my next large bomber...either a Lancaster or B-17.



Thanks for reading...

Friday, January 22, 2016

Peashooter in Gold

P-26A 18th Pursuit Group


This one had stalled since July 2012 due to...decals. I had them, had started putting them on, but it is usually during the decal stage that a great model start to turn into an average model (for me anyway). Something always goes wrong. So before this one went South I stopped, and didn't restart until I realized I had a theme that needed a kit of its age. So I gritted my teeth and dove in.

The Subject


The Golden Age of aviation, when aircraft design was more aesthetic than functional. If looked good, it flew beautifully!

The Boeing P-26A entered operations with the US Army Air Corps in 1933. The "A" differed from the original prototype P-26 in having a higher and stronger headrest. Most Peashooters were of the A model, with a few C produced using a slightly different engine, externally looking the same. 


Peashooters wore colorful schemes during one of the more glamorous ages of aviation. This P-26A represents the Group Commander's aircraft of the 18th Pursuit Group at Wheeler Field, Hawaii Territory, 1939. Within a year all remaining Peashooters would lose most of its paint and be traded in for the P-35 or P-36. 


The Model


This the venerable Revell kit, from 1967. Lots of rivet detail and not much detail in that open, albeit small, cockpit. So I opted to add the Starfighter Decals resin cockpit set (7206) as well as their engine upgrade set (7207).

The cockpit set is well worth it, providing some great detail that is certainly visible. The engine however is not much better than the kit offering, however that may not be true for recent repops.


Construction was straightforward, and proceeded quickly. The difficulties were with painting and decaling. First was getting the right blue for the fuselage, and the right yellow. Easy enough to buy the paint, but touch ups don't lend themselves to using a hairy stick, my usual method. After a coat of white primer to create a good base for the yellow i put on the yellow, then let it cure for a few weeks. Just to be sure.

I then masked and painted the blue. I also masked off the black trim on the tail as my decals were not quite the right shape.

Decals...I used the Model Alliance sheet, 72190, Wings of Stars. Great decals but I think they may have been for the Pavla kit as it suggests that one first, then the Revell...they were not quite the right shapes.

Summary


I like this kit, combined with the Starfighter Decals cockpit. We could certainly use a modern injection kit, but until then I'll continue to build this combination. I've got lots more decals for the P-26 family and I want to do at least 1 Philippine Army Air Corps subject from December 1941 and another USAAC machine in Olive Drab before the True Blue was introduced. Also have decals for a natural metal finish. Never enough time!


Thanks for looking...


Monday, January 18, 2016

Not just another Flying Tiger -- "It's GRRREAT!"

Fictional Racer


This is not my scale, being 1/48th, but it was free and the club wanted to do a "build the same kit" theme so I acquiesced.

The Backstory


What if NASCAR never took off, so to speak, but aviation racing reached the sponsorship and popularity of modern day NASCAR? Lots of aircraft available post-war, and ultimately there became both the unlimited, WarBird, and single aircraft type categories. Okay, we do have this today but it's not as popular as NASCAR, you don't see on broadcast TV...

The Kellogg's Team, with their Tony the Tiger character pushing Frosted Flakes, was a natural to be put on the aircraft of the "Flying Tigers" -- The American Volunteer Group, followed by the 23rd Fighter Group in China.

The Model


This is the AMT P-40 kit, representing a P-40E, F, K or M depending on details. I paid no attention to any of that and went with the easiest possible construction, out-of-the-box. Having no 1/48th pilot figures I decided to ignore the cockpit and painted the interior of the canopy and windscreen a dark blue, almost a black, Midnight Blue from Gunze. Since I was simplifying I decided to make it in flight, and made a stand for it.

Basic painting is Tamiya Orange overall, with Metallic Blue for the aft fuselage and empennage. I found a light blue that matched Tony's nose for the spinner, and then for added interest decided to make the prop blades a polished aluminum (although it didn't come out quite "polished").



Decals I found on the internet at a site that sells both NASCAR kits, aftermarket and decals for anyone's favorite racer or car, any period.

Summary


I had a lot of fun with this one, it was quite different and during construction realized that it would be easy to do this on a large scale with every racer on the NASCAR circuit. Who knows, maybe there's a market for this?

Thanks for looking...


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Who's who?

Spitfire Mk XVIII, TZ233/T, 208 Squadron RAF, Palestine 1947

This was a long term project, mainly because this MPM kit is a limited run kit, meaning I had to supply some details, scratch others, and generally fix all the errors.

The Subject

The Mk XIV was meant as an interim solution until the "Super Spitfire" design was fully developed as the Mk XVIII. While the XIV was essentially a Mk VIII with the Griffon engine, the XVIII incorporated all the lessons learned in the Griffon development from the prototype Mk IV, the stopgap XII based on the Mk V, and the XIV.

The major improvements in the design were the strengthened wing spar and fuselage allowing full flight envelope, maximum weights, and full performance. All XVIII were rear view (bubble canopy), but the primary visual difference were full span wings and a broad chord rudder. The rudder is slightly bigger than the standard XIV rudder and was retrofitted to some Mk XIVe rear view models, so look for the clipped wing and/or serial number to confirm. All had the "e" wing gun configuration of two 20mm cannons and two .50 cal machine guns. While the first few were built to F Mk XVIII standard, most were completed as FR Mk XVIII with PR Mk XIX camera installations in the fuselage, being one oblique (left or right) and two downward facing cameras. 


TZ233/T was assigned to 208 Squadron in Palestine in 1947. When Isreal declared independence she immediately went to war with her Arab neighbors, including Egypt.  This created a unique situation in which all belligerents, and the Brits trying maintain peace, were flying variants of the Spitfire. During the confusion in the air engagements were inevitable, some British fighters were flying without ammunition making them very vulnerable!

On one such occasion, British Spitfires were flying a reconnaissance mission over Arab bases, Isreali Spitfires engaged and shot down one of the unarmed British, who then responded with armed Spitfires engaging and shooting down an Isreali Spitfire. In the midst of the fighting, Egyptian Spitfires were also shot down along with some destroyed on the ground.


British Spitfires were painted in a different Desert Scheme from Egypt and Isreal, being Dark Earth and Light Slate Grey over Medium Sea Grey. Other aircraft in Palestine wore this same camouflage scheme and all retained the Yellow leading edge and Red spinner identification markings.

The Model

This is an early MPM kit, the sprue gates are thick and the plastic very hard but with lots of flash. The kit has nice decals for standard Day Fighter Scheme subjects and also includes a photo etch fret for some details in the cockpit and wheel wells. A vac canopy is provided, but only the one, so mistakes are not allowed!


I didn't use the etch fret nor the vac canopy, instead I got my details from the Academy Spitfire XIV kit. That kit has great details but is grossly inaccurate in shape, I pick them up at shows for a fiver and then use the details to tart up other kits; cheaper than buying an aftermarket set. The canopy came from my spares box, it was originally from a Fujimi XIVe kit.

The other details, like the landing gear, exhausts and prop were just not usable being thick blobs with lots of flash. So again I used the Academy details, but for the prop I sued an Aeroclub metal prop I had picked up and the exhausts needed to be round, not fishtail, so I used a Quickboost set.

I boxed in the landing gear to make it look better, and filled and sanded the kit for quite some time. Eventually it took me about 4 years start to finish to fix, find, and fix again all the details.

Paint is Tamiya XF-83 Medium Sea Grey for the undersides, XF-25 Light Sea Grey for the Light Slate Grey and Vallejo 921 "English Uniform" for the Dark Earth, all airbrushed.

Decals are from the AZModels kit, which I got simply because the decals for the subject I wanted were included. They went on just fine with Micro set/sol.

Summary

Ultimately this came out looking good, but I think I'd rather start with the AZModel kit next time. I wouldn't lose as much surface detail and overall it would likely come out nicer.


Thanks for looking...


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A new chapter to the Spitfire

Spitfire Mk IV, DP845, 1941

While researching my Spitfire III project I ran into DP845, the first (of two) Spitfire IV prototypes.  There was enough unique about it that I decided I had to make it, and put it alongside my Spitfire III.  I've since decided that if one is to have every mark of Spitfire on their shelf, then both the III and IV must be included, even if they are prototypes.

The Subject

Rolls Royce was developing the Griffon and when ready for aircraft installations the Air Ministry of course wanted one for the Spitfire.  It looked to be the next generation of engine that would take the basic Spitfire design and keep it current.  The Ministry was correct as eventually the Griffon Spitfire soldiered on with the RAF in the PR XIX to 1956!


In February 1941 a specification was finally written and by May 1941 a contract let with Supermarine for two prototypes: DP845 and DP851.  DP845 was first flown in November 1941 with DP851 following in December.

The purpose of the prototypes was to "explore the use of the Griffon on the Spitfire."  However by March 1942 it was being referred to as the Mk XX; and soon thereafter the need arose for a fast, low level interceptor that could catch the hit and run incursions by the Luftwaffe Fw-190 Jabos.


Soon she became the Mk XII prototype (albeit still referred to as Mk XX), getting "c" wing armament, clipped wings and a broader pointed rudder for improved control over that large torque from the Griffon.  As the Mk XII prototype, DP845 looked no different from a standard Mk XII.

DP851 continued on as the Mk XX prototype, getting eventually converted to the Mk 21 prototype with the "new" wing.

The Model

This was nearly 2 years in the making.  I had two Mk XII kits, one from Xtrakit and the other from ABC.  The latter is a "limited run" kit even by my standards; very thick gates and not much detail.  In looking at the Mk IV I realized quickly that effectively DP845 had the basic XII fuselage, but with an early rudder and "a" wing.  So I resurrected my abandoned Tamiya Va conversion by rescuing the wing and mating that, with the landing gear and rudder, to the ABC fuselage.

This photo is my reference:

It shows unraked landing gear, standard rudder and "a" wing.  It also shows (if you look carefully) a split flap arrangement with the actuators just visible.  This was only initially fitted and quickly removed as not providing much improvement over the existing design.

DP845 later received a mock up of 6x 20mm cannon (!) before receiving the pointed rudder (referred to as the Mk XII rudder) later used on the Mk VIII and IX/XVI.  The Air Ministry settled on the "c" wing configuration, but wanted future Mk 20 series Griffon Spitfires to have an all cannon armament.

Construction was tedious.  The fuselage fought me the whole way, needing quite a bit of filler and basic line improvements to "look" like a proper Spitfire.  The wing/fuselage joint was "ok" and also needed filler and lots of fettling.  The prop is a vast improvement, albeit not quite right.  I carved and reshaped the kit prop quite a few times before accepting it would not be perfect.  The spinner is a unique shape, being neither Merlin nor Griffon production standard.

The biggest flaw in the entire model is the canopy.  I could not find any canopy that I could make to fit properly other than the misshapen kit canopy.  (sigh) I did what I could to clean it up, but eventually settled (again) for imperfection.

Painting was quite simple by comparison.  Dark Green, Ocean Grey and Trainer Yellow undersides.  Decals are spares.  All went down quite nicely.

Summary

I may redo this one some day.  Like when a mainstream Mk XII kit is produced.  Until then this kit was a learning experience...like my skills still have a ways to go.

I hope to put DP851 on the shelf in the future; CMR do a Mk 21 kit...


Thanks for looking...


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Spirit of St Louis



This was an easy kit, about 20 parts total, and only the one "color".

The Subject

The Spirit of St Louis -- what more can be said?  Charles Lindbergh flew her from New York to Paris on May 20-21st 1927 non-stop to be the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an aircraft non-stop.


The Model

This is the very old Hawk kit, in 1/72nd scale (-ish) re-released by Testers back in the '90's.  The kit had very little flash, and the decals were quite good.

She went together very easily, only a minor bit of filler where some obvious seams were on top, and I ensured the clear bits where faired in properly.


Summary

I've always wanted this icon of a subject on my shelf but have put off actually building it until in 2015 the club decided a civilian theme build.  Other than a DC-3, this was it...



Thanks for looking...


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Revisiting an old friend

Revell Fighting Deuces

Back in the Summer of 1970 I was lucky enough to have some pocket money and purchased the double kit from Revell of the Zero and Wildcat. Great box art for a 10 year old looking for something to soar above his Arizona kit, which was floating in my Grandfather's pond. I decided to revisit these kits as part of a theme focused on revisiting the past. I was not disappointed. 

The Subjects

Neither of these kits contain accurate decals, but the Wildcat is supposed to be a representative F4F-4 from 1942 flying with VF-5 on Yorktown. The Zero is an A6M5 with markings appropriate for late 1944 or early 1945.   I chose to stick with the kit decals only because there were so many other errors that reflected the kits' ages, from the early 1960's, that they wouldn't look right with accurate markings. 



These "Deuces" in the series were effectively a jumble of Allied plus Axis aircraft that served in the same theater, but unlikely at the same time. Revell used the kits they had on hand, not tooling new variants. But then again back then most manufacturers had only one variant on offer for each aircraft, unlike today's plethora of over engineered offerings that cater to every variant. There is something to be said for simplicity...



The Models

First to finish was the Zero, first released in 1962 but my kit is a recent "blue box" release from 1995. This is a very simple kit, very few parts and they all go together easily. The first time I made these kits there was only one way to complete them: gear up, manned and ready to pl...er, fight. This time around I followed my current preference for being on their feet. 

I did correct a couple of obvious flaws - first the antenna mast should be coming through the rear canopy, not stick out of the rear fuselage spine. This was an easy fix using spare rod sanded to shape. The next thing I fixed was the cannon. There should be two per wing protruding and while the kit does have something akin to a barrel sticking out of the leading edge they were the wrong size and in the wrong location. I trimmed them off, redrilled the holes and stuck plastic rod cut to length. Next I boxed in the landing gear wells, just open to the sparse cockpit, which got some masking tape seat belts.  Lastly the gun troughs on the cowling were either mis-molded or something, so I sanded accurate troughs. 

Based on the markings this appears to be a Nakajima manufactured A6M5c of the Tsukuba Naval Air Corps in 1945 so I chose paints close to the Nakajima colors. The topside green is Tamiya XF-11 Japanese Navy Green, the underside is Model Master Acrylic 1763 Light Gull Gray, the cowl is Mr Color 71 Midnight Blue, as is the cockpit decking, with the cockpit interior being a green I have labelled FS 34097. The wheel wells are aluminum with a very light spray of Tamiya X-13 Metallic Blue. For completeness, the prop is aluminum with the rear faces painted Tamiya XF-64 Red Brown.

After a coat of Future I put the decals on, using Daco soft decal setting solution. The decals were very fragile, slightly out of register for the red on white, but conformed to the heavy raised detail well. 

I had to touch up the leading edge yellow decal, which turned out to be a perfect match to Tamiya XF-3 Yellow.


While I started the Wildcat at the same time, just like the first time around, it had some short-shot plastic. This kit was originally released in 1965, but my kit this time around was a 1983 repop I picked up at a show for $2.  The cowling required a significant rebuilding and the canopy actually had holes in it. This one had lots of filler along all the seams, and I endeavored to keep as much raised detail as possible. 

I added a small piece of sheet under the cowling lip to accurately create the scoop, and had to fettle the engine a bit to get it centered inside the cowl. The hole in the canopy was filled using acrylic white glue, which dries clear. I then fitted the canopy with the same glue, adjusting it and filling the seam to ensure a smooth fit. I was pleasantly surprised how well it looked once it dried. 

Paint is Tamiya Sky Grey XF-19 underneath and Humbrol Authentics 16 Intermediate Blue for the upper surface. The decals were more delicate than the Zero decals, but I was able to carefully get them on. While the roundels are oversized for this scale, I used them to keep it OOB.  The other markings are not for a -4, but for either a -3 (LCDR Thach) or FM-1 or 2 (ASW scheme on USS Block Island in Atlantic).

Both models were final coated with a satin to tone down the sheen.

Summary

I had fun with these, knowing they were not accurate nor detailed, but building just for fun. I did use them as a canvas for color, using what my references tell me may be close equivalents for each of them. I think the Zero could use a better color for the underside Amiero, it's not quite right.  The non-specular Blue-Gray on the Wildcat could be both lighter and greener.  

I have that old Arizona kit in my stash as well; but that's a future project.



Thanks for looking...


Saturday, January 2, 2016

His ship, my friend

LCI 570 circa 1945



Background

Joe is 91 and served with the Amphibious Forces during World War II.  He is a longtime and dear family friend of my wife, she's known him since she was 5.  I've known Joe since about 1980 when I first met my (then) future wife.  He and his wife Fran (also a vet - more on her later) were at our wedding, and at my military retirement 29 years later.

The four of us get together regularly and as usual the discussion tends to migrate towards their service, and mine.  Lots of great stories but I'll focus on his...

Joe served on a number of Landing Craft, Infantry (LCI) vessels after he joined the US Navy in 1942.  He worked as a radio repairman for his father, who owned a radio shop before the war.  So naturally Joe became a Radioman.

Joe worked up on his LCI at the amphibious base at Solomons Island, Maryland, which is at the mouth of the Patuxent River across from the Naval Air Station named for the river.  Joe also spent time down at Damneck, Virginia before deploying to the Mediterranean theater of operations in 1943.

Most landings in North Africa were already completed, however initially his ship provided logistics support, running supplies forward as the US forces advanced East.  His LCI supported the Sicily landings and then continued the logistics train.  His commanding officer was a Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTjg), and the Exec was an Ensign.  Both were "90 day wonders" from Officer Candidate School.  No older than he was and certainly no smarter, they just had much more responsibility.

According to Joe, his LCI was part of the landings at Salerno, September 1943.  He was in the radio room so didn't see much, but knows the cook was the first to be killed; his role was to drop the ramps at the bows which exposed him to withering machine gun fire.  He did get the ramps down before he died.  The soldiers disembarked but not before many of the crew had been killed; then a large calibre shell hit the side of the LCI, probably a German 88mm, and the ship began to list quickly and sink.  Joe was thrown from his post, the large battery that powered the radio landed on him.  Luckily he had very minor injuries.  He immediately moved to abandon ship and on the rail saw the Engineman standing at the rail with no life preserver -- he couldn't swim so Joe gave him his and they both jumped.  They spent most of the rest of the day in the water, but were fished out late in the day and taken to a nearby battleship.  Joe doesn't remember which one but he does remember the food was extremely good and accommodations were like a 5-star hotel compared to his little LCI.

The Subject

After a few days on the battleship he was sent stateside to work up on another LCI.  Combat experience was useful in training new crews, and Joe's would be put to great use.  He initially started training new Radiomen working up, listing as many as 6 different hulls, then was transferred to LCI 570 for special duties.

During this time Joe was promoted to Radioman Second Class (RM2c).  His responsibilities were to the Commodore of the LCI Flotilla (about 6 ships) relaying communications from shore to the other vessels as well as the Flotilla Commander's orders.  Joe notes that his Flotilla Commander was a former submarine skipper from the regular Navy; likely because he hadn't done well -- the regular Navy was on cruisers and battleships, not amphibs.

There is much, much more on LCI 570.  At the time it was all classified, Joe tells of all the modifications made to it, first as a rocket launcher LCI(R), then with extra 40mm guns LCI(G), and finally with special torpedoes to support the SEAL Teams prior to landings.  The latter were launched from a special platform at a key angle, allowing the torpedoes to run on the surface and detonate berms the Japanese would place just offshore to stop the landing craft.  I couldn't find any references online, or pictures, but Joe has one...it's in a frame and he's not letting go of it or I'd scan it and post it here!  The hull is clearly 570...

As I write this apparently Joe is the sole survivor of LCI 570.  His shipmates have all passed on, the last one within the last year.  He's not sure how many "ELSY AYE" sailors remain, but believes most are now gone.

The Model

This is the old Lindberg kit that is about 1/150th - 160th depending on the accuracy of measurements.  That's about N scale so finding a few figures wasn't too hard.  I was at a show in England last year and picked up a package of sailors for a few dollars.


The kit has quite a few inaccuracies, the biggest being the lack of ramps and the bridge/conning tower being oval and capped.  On early LCI's they were square, on latter ones round; the top was open to the weather, albeit most had a canvas cover for normal ops.

Joe purchased the kit from a magazine, because he knew I made models and he wanted me to make it for him.  Nothing special, right out of the box.  Well, his service is too special to not do this with some justice...so I mounted it on a base and corrected some of the obvious errors.  I also looked at lots of pictures on line and it was obvious that the rails were quite visible so I added those using plastic rod.  Also visible were the 14 doors around the ship...so I made a template and cut those from thin sheet.

I asked about the ramps, simply because I knew 570 had been modified and he stated emphatically that it never had ramps.  They were removed before he got to her and with all the mods were never re-installed.  He didn't want the gun or rocket launchers, nor the torpedo ramps that were on the sides, so I didn't add any of that but was more than willing to do so.

Summary

This will end as one of my favorite builds of all time.  He takes the model to any meeting with vets locally (he doesn't travel anymore) and is quite proud of "his" ship.

Oh yes...his wife is a former SPAR who served with the Coast Guard during the war.  She ran the Baltimore area anchorage -- scheduling when/where ships would anchor.  She was responsible for about 200 Coast Guardsmen in a number of roles including beach security out on the Maryland coastline.  She was in her early 20's then...only 11 remain of the more than 10,000 who served.

Thanks for looking...